Blog | Social Determinants of Health

Analysis: New solutions for funding SDOH service providers

Blog | Social Determinants of Health

Analysis: New solutions for funding SDOH service providers

  • MVP Health Care is partnering with the Alliance for Better Healthcare and investing $800,000 to create an independent practice association (IPA) for social determinants of health (SDOH) service providers in the local area.
  • The creation of an IPA is in an attempt to overcome common challenges that prevent collaborations between providers and organizations that provide social supports.

MVP Health Care is partnering with the Alliance for Better Healthcare and investing $800,000 to create an independent practice association (IPA) for social determinants of health (SDOH) service providers in the local area, according to a Modern Healthcare article.  “The new partnership, announced Aug. 6, is called Healthy Alliance Independent Practice Association.

“The IPA is in response to a growing reliance from the healthcare sector on these community-based organizations to address social determinants of health even as they struggle with unstable funding sources,” according to Modern Healthcare. “Not-for-profits depend heavily on grants from states and charities, which aren't stable. The IPA heard from organizations that said they had to change their priorities when funding changed, which made it difficult to achieve long-term goals. The alliance will use insurer investments, which are more stable.

“MVP Health Care, which has about 190,000 of its 700,000 members on Medicaid, is the first insurer to invest funds. Healthy Alliance plans to track the impact the investments have on patient outcomes. The IPA has a technology platform that both its provider and community-based organization partners have agreed to use that will allow them to send and receive referrals. The service will enable the IPA to track who is using social services and if they have led to improvements in health. The IPA is already in talks with other managed-care organizations that want to join.”

Takeaway

Overcoming common challenges:

First, the funding challenge is real. All too often when we talk with members who have helped a segment of their patient population overcome a SDOH and improve outcomes, we frequently hear the progress wasn’t sustained. Why? Because that effort was funded by a grant. And when that grant expired, a new source of funding wasn’t identified. So, this is definitely needed.

Second, the other challenge providers, particularly in smaller practices, face in addressing SDOH is identifying and developing relationships with a network of organizations who can provide the service (e.g. housing, transportation, job training, nutrition, companionship) or range of services that an individual needs. MVP, by pulling this together with Alliance for Better Healthcare, is helping its partnering physicians overcome this barrier.

Who are the “Usual Suspects?”

I suspect we will see more health plans, particularly managed care organizations and Medicare Advantage plans, create and/or support these types of networks. While it looks like the referrals will occur via a technology solution, what’s not clear is whether information from the SDOH provider will be pushed to the practices’ patients’ EHRs, so the care coordinator, or nurse who’s acting as a care coordinator, knows if items on the patient’s care plan have been completed.

Given that SDOH providers often interact with the patient more frequently and in the patient’s home/neighborhood, they also will have better insights into the patient’s health and environment that can feed into the care planning and short circuit unnecessary utilization.  

About the Authors

Chad Mulvany, FHFMA

is director, healthcare finance policy, strategy and development, HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office, and a member of HFMA’s Virginia-Washington, D.C., Chapter.

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